Horror punk rockers Calabrese a band of brothers, have released five albums to date, toured, have a variety of merchandise, with so much more they can expand with this brand it's unstoppable! Bassist and vocalist Jimmy Calabrese took some time to talk about the 10 year run these guys have experienced, along with upcoming plans on countless touring, future material, and just so much more that you will always remember the name, Calabrese!
1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Calabrese.
Jimmy: Hi, I'm Jimmy Calabrese and I play bass and sing with my brothers in the band Calabrese.
2. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Jimmy: We are based out of Phoenix Arizona and our scene has calmed down a bit but I'm sure it's about to explode again any minute. There's always new bands being formed and ready to set fire to the scene. For
local bands I would recommend Hour Of The Wolf, The Limit Club, The Sex, and Scorpion vs. Tarantula, to name a few.
3. It has been over 10 years for Calabrese, did you guys know and have you celebrated in any shape or form?
Jimmy: We didn't do anything publicly to celebrate but we did make some changes internally with new management and agents that would allow us to tour more and take the band to a new level.
4. A lot of bands have "reissued" or "re-released" old releases, will you guys be considering this or is that not your style?
Jimmy: We have considered this but we have so much more new music that's burning inside, that we don't want to take the time and re-visit the past. Not yet, anyway.
5. Out of all of the albums, EPs, and videos excluding your new stuff is your favorite and why?
Jimmy: I would say THE TRAVELING VAMPIRE SHOW because that album was a magical recording for us. It was our second album and we somehow made a fan favorite that we very proud of. We planned for the best but we came out with a Calabrese classic that we never expected.
6. Over the years you've trended to release albums and EPs spanning 2-3 years then went to just 1 year how much faster will you be going for the future material?
Jimmy: We don't have a set game plan for the future releases yet, it depends on what will make the most sense for us. We'd love to start releasing a new album every year but we're not sure what our touring schedule would allow yet.
7. You guys have released albums, videos, and even a comic book, how much further do you plan to take the Calabrese brand and what would you like to see happen?
Jimmy: What you have mentioned is just the tip of the spear. We have more issues of the comic in the works, we are working on a video game, collectible action figures, movies - basically whatever gets us and the fans excited.
8. Would you ever consider creating a Calabrese cartoon series like the comic book having it be an online or even on TV series?
Jimmy: Yep, we've thought of that but it's just not in the cards yet for us to get that going, but we have discussed doing something like that. We've even toyed with the idea of a Podcast or a Calabrese Adventure Radio Podcast. We are not afraid to come up with crazy ideas cause sometimes they actually work.
9. You've been releasing album after album after album through the years when can we expect to see a LIVE album or LIVE CD/DVD from you guys?
Jimmy: We've half attempted to do that a few years ago but we were not fully prepared at the time so we didn't get good audio coverage, but we WILL eventually release either a live album or a DVD. We have a lot of overseas fans that we know would love to see that kinda thing since, as of right now, we are not touring abroad much.
10. What made you want to do a total makeover for your online merch store? Do you like this version over the old version?
Jimmy: We wanted to update the online store for the longest time but it was going to be a big task so we put it off for as long as possible but I'm glad we finally did it cause it has a much better user experience. And we
can accept credit cards now and not just Paypal. It has a better layout and features that our HTML created website could never handle.
11. Who is the artist behind creating all of the designs for your various merch, out of everything which is your favorite and why? You guys should make a black bat hoodie or a completely blood splattered hoodie.
Jimmy: Luckily for us we've been working with many different artists from all over the world to create the amazing art for our merchandise. One of our favorite artists is Andrew Barr from Canada who we have been working with us since the start of the band. Andrew drew our first album 13 HALLOWEENS and did the art for our first t-shirts. Ever since then we've used Andrew as the Art Director for all our albums since, so he's had a hand in designing all our albums for the last 10 years. He's a great guy! And his Calabrese art has been tattooed on many fans throughout the years.
12. In your video for "Born With A Scorpion's Touch!" the video is an actual VHS tape - do you guys still own your VHS tapes or have most transferred onto DVD? I still own and record using VHS.
Jimmy: I have a select few horror movies on VHS that I've not traded in for DVD copies or Blue Ray but Bobby has the largest VHS collection out of all of us. I like to collect stuff but eventually sell it and start a new collection but Bobby likes to collect and keep his stuff. He's got a ton of stuff piled up like headstones memorializing all the movies and comics that he's watched and read.
13. "Born With A Scorpion's Touch!" is your fifth album to date, how does this make you feel?
Jimmy: Feels great because we tried to shake things up with this album. We tried new types of songs and had a blast in the studio recording. The fans are enjoying the journey we are on so it's great to experience the musical adventure together.
14. How has this released differed, compared, and evolved from your previous releases?
Jimmy: We tried to go for a more modern retro style. Our first albums were sorta out of our hands because we didn't have the equipment and knowledge to achieve what we wanted to, but by this fifth album we knew what we were doing, what we wanted, and how to achieve it. The sounds we would normally find acceptable we didn't allow and pushed ourselves out of the comfort zone and entered different sounds capes, and it seemed to pay off.
15. Who produced "Born With A Scorpion's Touch!" and what was it like working with them?
Jimmy: We worked with Bob Hoag at Flying Blanket Studios in Mesa AZ. Bob recorded and produced the album. This was the second time working with Bob so we were super comfortable with each other and are kindred musical souls. Bob and I found ourselves lost in the mixing process until two in the morning turning knobs trying to meet deadlines and budgets. We found out no matter how much time you book in the studio it is never enough.
16. Is there any story or concept behind the "Born With A Scorpion's Touch!" title?
Jimmy: I'm not sure where it came from, for sure, but I know Bobby discovered the title of the album and we all knew it sounded right. There is no "one correct" meaning but to me I believe it means being born different, born with a passion that nobody understands, so you have to walk your own path to find the answers about life that nobody can answer.
17. Who did the cover art for "Born With A Scorpion's Touch!" and how much input did you have on it?
Jimmy: We had Andrew Barr design the cover and we had 100% input. Andrew is great about taking direction and making our vision come to life.
18. Select two songs from "Born With A Scorpion's Touch!" and what inspired the lyrics.
Jimmy: The way Bobby and I write the lyrics is that we share the lyric writing. We usually write our own verse that we sing and work on the chorus together. I can tell you what inspired my half of these songs. ONLY THE DEAD KNOW MY NAME - I was trying to put my spin on what a monster/serial killer would feel like but in a fun campy way. The words sorta wrote themselves because they just flowed from my lips when we started playing the song. I RIDE ALONE - I love Indiana Jones and Inglorious Bastards and wanted to pay a little homage to them in my verse. Which helped me finally figured out a way to sing about fighting Nazis.
19. Why did you want this album to be more rock n' roll based than horror based or is it a crossover between them?
Jimmy: We made the decision to stress the rock part of horror rock since we've played out all the horror elements in the first four albums. We wanted to create something new and enter territory we have not ventured yet. We like other cool things besides horror and we figured now's the perfect time as any to broaden our scope. Since we have created a solid horror foundation we didn't think anyone would mind.
20. What's your take on "Born With A Scorpion's Touch!" as a whole?
Jimmy: I think as a whole "Born With A Scorpion's Touch" sounds like the future of Calabrese. We are excited about the new imagery we can explore, the exotic music soundscapes we can travel, and that's what art is all about for us creating something new.
21. What's your favorite song on the album right now?
Jimmy: Right now, THERE IS AN EVIL INSIDE is my personal favorite because it's a blast to play live. It seems to create a whole new vibe at the show and I always look forward to performing it now.
22. Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the songs?
Jimmy: For sure, if the music is a movie soundtrack then the words are the location and action on the screen. If we can paint a vivid picture in the mind of the listener, then a job well done. When we first started the band my goal was to create music that a young kid would listen to on his headphones in his room and feel that he wasn't alone, that he/she would feel like they were taken away to a place where they could be themselves. It's awesome how people are telling us how our music helped them through their tough high school years. That means a lot to me.
23. What would be the cinematic equivalent of "Born With A Scorpion's Touch!"?
Jimmy: I don't know if my brothers would agree, but I would say the movie PSYCHOMANIA.
24. What are your expectations for the CD?
Jimmy: They are the same as all the others - to touch the heart and souls of all those who listen, and to convert them into our mindless slaves.
25. Where is the new material headed?
Jimmy: It's headed into the wild outback of the unknown. We had a taste of fresh musical blood, so we are following our blood lust to see where it takes us.
26. You've been playing the supporting role on and off, but have had the chance to do a few headlining tours thus far. What do you guys have lined-up?
Jimmy: We are planning on doing more of the same - a high energy rock n roll show that will electrocute the audience with one hundred decibels of pure power!
27. Once these tours are wrapped up, what do you guys have planned for the rest of this year?
Jimmy: We plan on writing more songs on our down time and planning the next tour. Then rinse, wash, and repeat.
28. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Jimmy: The best place to go is CalabreseRock.com or CalabreseStore.com.
29. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Jimmy: When someone hears us for the first time I want them to remember that excitement they felt. I want them to remember they are alive and vibrating like a live wire out of control, cause I want them to be ready...ready to take back the night with Calabrese!
30. Have you heard of Calabrese?
Jimmy: Every day! Thanks!